we want to be present when we do things we love. we want to slow down, so we can take our time + truly embrace the moment.
when we learn to slow down, we also create an inner calm that makes it easier for us to be productive while doing less desirable tasks. we are in a more mindful state – aware of the moment + in a non-judgmental way. we don’t feel discouraged for having to do the dishes or have a difficult conversation at work. we understand this needs to be done; we approach the situation with openness, with a can-do attitude. we feel calm + mindful + want to make the most of the situation rather than just rushing through it + moving on to the next task.
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practising mindfulness / sophrology / meditation are ways to easily still our minds + slow down our pace in life. another way is to learn to simplify your day.
any aspect of simplifying starts with getting an overview.
when you get an overview of your daily + weekly activities + commitments, it’s easier to prioritise what you actually want to spend time on / what you need to get done / what you feel obligated to do. it’s easier to see where you distribute your energy + evaluate if you want to do things differently. without an overview, you might just run on autopilot, letting external matters dictate your direction. this can leave you feeling exhausted, and in the long run, burnt-out.
how life unfolds is often determined by the choices we make daily.
slowing down will make it easier for us to understand how we actually want to spend our days + weeks. what is giving us energy (plus activities) + making us feel good ? do we have enough of these activities in our lives, or are the more draining activities (minus activities) taking over ?
creating an overview can help us create balance. it can help us take charge of our own lives, so we get more of what we truly want + can live our lives to the fullest.
here are 3 steps of how to simplify your day.
1. ON THE WEEKEND
if you don’t already use a weekly planner, it would be wise to spend some time on the weekend getting an overview of what activities + appointments are due in the upcoming week and on what days. I would recommend using a piece of paper / a whiteboard etc., where you clearly get an overview of the entire week.
I also like to use different colours for different categories (work / hobbies / chores / wellbeing routines etc.) to easily find + distinguish activities from each other.
look at things like :
appointments (hairdresser / dentist / doctor etc.)
appointments with friends / dates
errands / chores
hobbies / interests
self care / wellbeing
if you have specific activities you need / want to do during the week that doesn’t need to be done on a particular day, just make a separate section for these.
already you can tell if you have too many activities going on on any of the days. evaluate if you want to reschedule or remove any of them to allow more time for what is left. in order to simplify your day, it’s better to have fewer activities + spend more time on them than just rushing through your schedule. the latter will just leave you exhausted at the end of the day.
make sure you have a fair balance of activities you have to do
+ activities that fuel you / give you joy / relax you.
create a separate section on your planner, where you write down enjoyable self-care activities. try to include activities that will boost both your body / spirit / mind. you will look back at this section throughout the week.
unless you have made lots of appointments with other people + realise you need to reschedule or cancel to allow more time for other things, don’t spend too much time planning the content of every single day at this point. we’ll get back to that later.
2. IN THE EVENING
it’s always a good idea to get an overview of the upcoming day the evening before, rather than wait till the same morning. you might need to prepare something upfront, but an overview will also give you a sense of the day. is it a quiet one or a busier one ? you might want to adjust your morning routine accordingly.
if you know you have a busy day, it could be wise to make time for peaceful activities (plus activities) both the evening before + in the morning. this way, you will feel calmer + more uplifted throughout the day.
at this point, it can also be a good idea to get a rough idea of what time you will most likely tackle any of the tasks / activities / appointments. you could split the day into 3 : mornings / before work, afternoons / at work, and evenings / after work. for this, you could use a daily planner / sticky notes / a notebook. some weekly planners also come with separate to-do lists (see images below).
3. IN THE MORNING
upon waking, ask yourself :
what do I feel like doing today ?
don’t use brain activity on finding an answer; just allow it to come to you. you might immediately think of some of the self-care activities from your weekly planner, a chore you can’t wait to get over with (cause you know it will feel so amazing once it’s done), or maybe something completely new pops into your head.
regardless of what’s on your agenda today, doing something for yourself first thing in the morning is an excellent way to set the tone for the rest of the day. attending to yourself first also gives you more energy for whatever comes next. when you ignore your own needs, it’s easier to feel like a victim when facing challenges + heavy tasks. regularly indulging in self-care gives you more of a can-do-attitude. it makes it easier for you to enjoy your day regardless of what might turn up.
after you have fueled yourself this way, you can look at your planner to see what needs to get done before getting to work or whatever you have planned for the day.
whenever you look at your schedule throughout the day, don’t forget to ask yourself questions like, what do I feel like now ? this way, you prevent yourself from getting into the rut of doing things just for the sake of it. you want to be present. you want to enjoy yourself. so do what makes you feel good !
the thing is, if you also remember to do things that give you energy (plus activities), you have greater motivation in getting less desirable tasks done. so it’s not that you should ignore those tasks altogether, but to find a balance.
to create a harmonious day that will turn into a harmonious week / month / year / life, you need to opt for balance.
creating balance starts with listening to your body
+ act on its needs.
if you need rest, rest. if you feel restless from having too much energy, grab your weekly planner + see how many things you can tick off.
here are some inspirational weekly planners I came across that I hope will motivate you to get organised + simplify your day.
habitat weekly plan (click on image to follow link)
creative lab amsterdam week planner (click on image to follow link)
white board weekly planner (click on image to follow link)
sweetzer & orange weekly planner (click on image to follow link)
insight edition self-care weekly planner (click on image to follow link)
scribble & dot planner diary (click on image to follow link)